Ethiopia’s effective climate diplomacy: lessons for other nations

Ethiopia’s effective climate diplomacy: lessons for other nations

Despite its Least Developed Country status, Ethiopia has played a leading role in climate diplomacy. This briefing explores the factors behind Ethiopia’s success in order to draw lessons for other nations. Meles Zenawi, the late former prime minister, has left a legacy of strong political will and leadership that has enabled Ethiopia to integrate climate into its development strategy, set ambitious national targets and successfully coordinate climate action across ministries. Ethiopian climate diplomats have also engaged effectively with their neighbours and the broader international community to mobilise support for stronger goals, supported by a growing evidence base gathered by the state. As nations — LDCs and others — work together to ratify and fully implement the Paris Agreement, the diplomatic efforts of proactive countries like Ethiopia will remain fundamental to the effort.

Policy pointers:

  • effective engagement requires strong political will and leadership at the highest level — national leaders are uniquely placed to push climate to the top of the agenda
  • strong regional climate diplomacy is needed to forge common positions in broader international negotiations and integrate climate concerns into strategic development planning
  • ambitious planning and domestic targets give climate diplomats the moral high ground they need to successfully lobby their peers to make bigger commitments
  • generating evidence to support climate advocacy provides diplomats with a firmer foundation for influencing international negotiations
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